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Most of what I do with my 2011 i7 MBAir could be done with 10% of the available processor power. Is there a hack to slow the processor to conserve battery for the 95% of the time I don't need it?

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I'm not sure, but I think it may do this automatically. –  spudwaffle Jan 13 '12 at 5:24
    
I've been so impressed how miserly the i7 in the new Air's is - just watch your CPU consumption and get rid of apps that chew CPU when they are idle... –  bmike Jan 24 '12 at 17:44
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3 Answers

The Intel i5 and i7 processors have a number of features that will definitely conserve power or optimize it for those peak moments. You can't slow it down programmatically but you can be sure that the OS is doing all it can.

It's a good question, though, because an i7 processor running at 1.8Ghz doing nothing could be running at 1.2 and save power. In any case, I'm sure that one of the worst battery hungry things is the display. Make sure you dim it often when not using, use a lower brightness setting, turn off bluetooth if/when you don't use it, if you don't need network connectivity, turn wireless off, etc. Basic obvious ideas.

I have a free handy tool, similar to App Tamer mentioned by @ioi, that I occasionally use, Freeze Frame. You can simply stop certain processes from using any CPU at all, therefore letting the CPU to slow down. (Remember that with Turbo Boost it can go up!).

But I am not aware of a specific way to slow DOWN the processor. I'm sure Intel did its job there and the processor is clever enough to save as much as it can.

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There is an application I know of that works well to conserve battery power, minimizes processor usage, etc. It doesn't necessarily slow down your processor, but rather manages all of the processes your currently running, not running, have idle, etc.

screenshot

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This is handled automatically at a hardware level. You cannot alter your processor's clock speed via an app.

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